because of God's love
 

Forgiveness Leads to Restoration
Day 11

by Gini Crawford, MSW

Forgiveness leads to restoration in every kind of relationship. We bought a hundred year old house in Idaho that needed restoration. We knew it needed a lot of repair, but as life is, it needed more than we thought. To restore anything takes work and time. Every relationship we have will need some work and time in the area of forgiveness to make it decent. When you won't at least work on forgiving someone, you are saying to that person you aren't worth my kindness and love. You are only worth my anger and bitterness. And believe me, people feel your anger and bitterness whether you say it or not. If an attitude of forgiveness isn't in a relationship, then that relationship will be dysfunctional.

You might be wondering what bitterness means? Bitterness is an attitude that tends to grow out of our refusal to let go (forgive) a person's wrongs. Bitterness is also deep seated ill feeling, or hostility towards someone. Think about a situation or person where there's hostility - it affects many people negatively. Bitterness is the opposite of grace (unmerited favor).

Pursue peace...See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. Hebrews 12:14-15. NASB®

Now, granted some people who you need to forgive, you would never want to be in a relationship with, such as the man that tried to set you on fire. God understands that and doesn't want you to be friends with people that harm you. But we still can forgive a person and not be in a relationship with them. This is because forgiveness is, you making the choice to let go of your resentment towards the person. It has nothing to do with the person. Remember the definition of forgiveness in Day 1?

Forgiveness leads to restoration in us. If you refuse to forgive someone, negative emotions start building in you, leading to unnecessary stress. Forgiving that person will lead to a restoring of your well-being. This is because you are at peace with God, yourself and the person who you forgave. Forgiveness also brings restoration to the forgiven, if they want to be forgiven. I love being forgiven. Do you like to be forgiven?

For decades of my life, I struggled with forgiving myself. Growing up, I was made to feel all problems were my fault. Can you relate? My aunt's unforgiveness towards me added to my feelings of guilt. This was because I felt I could do nothing right and that's why she could not forgive me. (Remember, when you won't forgive someone you might be affecting your loved one in a destructive way.) However, God over the years has taught me to forgive others and myself. Can you forgive yourself? God tells us to forgive so forgiving yourself is a must too.

Life Application

As we end this Daily devotional of forgiveness quickly review the eleven days and then answer these questions: Describe forgiveness. Why can God forgive you? Why should you forgive? How does forgiving bring healing and health? What did you learn about forgiveness that you did not know? Forgiveness restores and unforgivesness leads to what? Has this devotional helped you to be more forgiving? Read the story of Joseph - Genesis 37-50. Joseph's life is forgiveness in action.

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posted 12/21/2016


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